What is Kabbalah?

In all of My sacred mountain, neither evil nor injustice shall be done; For the land shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD as water covers the sea. — Book of Isaiah, 11:9

In our 21st Century, we are experiencing a collective spiritual advancement which occurs in greater and greater measure as each individual human being becomes more and more acquainted with the ‘knowledge of the Lord’. This spiritual knowledge helps us see ourselves and others in a spiritual light. The social consequence of this ‘seeing’ is acceptance of other peoples as being like us, as friends. This acceptance of other peoples ushers in ‘The Age of Aquarius’; in Jewish Kabbalistic Astrology the keyword for Aquarius is, in Hebrew, “ohev’ meaning ‘friend’. (and love is ‘ahava‘).

Levi Krakovsky, author of Kabbalah, the Light of Redemption, wrote: “Kabbalah confirms that the Heavenly Light, when drawn from its supreme source, is the only substance which will unite the world into one loving, harmonious, eternal brotherhood.” — The Omnipotent Light Revealed – Wisdom of the Kabbalah, p. 47

Spiritual intelligence is the ability to see, understand and resolve spiritual problems and challenges with the help of God. To keep spiritual intelligence active is to act in ways that please God — no evil or injustice towards others. Pleasing God, brings one close to God — where evil and injustice cannot enter. Spiritual intelligence cannot be measured by taking a test — rather one’s soul is tested by God in many and diverse ways through which the soul is given opportunities for spiritual advancement; thus, the soul ultimately resembles and therefore is one with God.

Protection from Negative Mazal

We know that the ‘red string’ is an talisman that is effective against the ‘evil eye’.  What is effective against negative mazal (astrological influences)? Can we avoid ‘bad luck‘?  

Since Talmudic times, sages, rabbis, and ordinary Jews have disagreed about astrological influences, about mazal.  Some hold that astrology is all bunk, a pseudo-science, while others hold that, yes, it is true for non-Jews, but has no effect on Jews, and yet others believe that it definitely has effect on Jews and non-Jews alike, with the caveat that keeping the commandments of the (written) Torah is effective for protection against harm caused by negative astrological influences – the 613 commandments for Jews and the 7 commandments for non-Jews, the Children of Noah. For example, a negative astrological influence may cause financial loss, difficulty in friendships, or inner conflicts and confusion — albeit, some ‘negative astrological influences’ are built-in to one’s unique mazal, one’s destiny, and are necessary for each individual’s spiritual unfolding and growth. 

However that may be, most astrologers would agree that ‘negative astrological influences’ may result from, for example, difficult planetary transits such as transiting Saturn conjunct your ascendant or Pluto entering your twelfth house.  While an astrologer can discuss what may result from such difficult transits, wise astrological advice is contingent for its effectiveness on something more  — its success depends on finding favor in God’s eye.

To merit that favor, keeping the Torah’s commandments is necessary.  The problem is that, for many reasons, keeping all the commandments is not possible.  The Jewish sages and prophets understood this and provided remedies.  

Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki (1040 – 1105), universally known by the acronym, “Rashi”, is esteemed for his Torah commentaries.  In the Talmud we find a discussion about how King David, Isaiah, Habakkuk and others came and established the observance of the Torah’s commandments from 613 in number to 11 and then to 2 and even 1. Rashi writes:

Makkot  24a:  and he established them on 11  — At first they were completely righteous (tzadikim) and were able to receive the yoke of many commandments (mitzvot); later generations were not so completely righteous and when they came to observe all of them, no one had the merit to do so.  And David came and established them, etc., so that they may gain merit through fulfilling these 11 commandments.   And so generations are always descending and it (the number of commandments) is further reduced.
Makkot  24a: Isaiah then established the 613 commandments upon two, as it is stated: “So says the Lords: Observe justice and perform righteousness” (Isaiah 56:1).

Habakkuk came and established the 613 commandments upon one as it is stated: “…the righteous shall live by his faith(emunah)”. (Habakkuk 2:4).

We find in the Talmud many roads that lead to the same destination.  Hillel and Shammai were sages whose  rulings on how to observe the Torah commandments were virtually always in disagreement – yet each in their own way fulfilled the spirit of the Torah and so both rulings are considered valid.  Whether we follow King David’s, Isaiah’s, or Habakkuk’s commandment to merit protection from negative mazal,  doing so sincerely is the spiritual ‘red string’ that protects us.

 

Man’s Search for Meaning

Dr. Victor Frankl
Dr. Victor E. Frankl

Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it. — Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl

Paraphrasing Dr. Frankl, we may say: everyone has his or her own specific mazal or destiny in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfillment…everyone’s mazal is as unique as is the specific opportunity to implement it.

In Kabbalah, we learn that each individual is born according to their specific mazal (destiny or fate) on the day and hour chosen by God to provide the new born the appropriate opportunities to advance its spiritual development and thus, achieve its life’s fulfillment.